Would you like to be filmed waking up in bed on live TV? That’s exactly what happens to Matthew McConaughey as the dazed and confused Ed, an unambitious video store clerk who is plucked from obscurity to become the TV hit of the season when he agrees to have his life aired on cable telly 24 hours a day.
If director Ron Howard’s 1999 media satire all sounds a bit familiar, it is. Jim Carrey had a huge hit with the similarly themed The Truman Show the previous year. And it’s an adaptation of the 1994 Quebec film Louis 19, le roi des ondes. No matter. McConaughey as Ed Pekurny and Woody Harrelson as his stroppy older brother Ray squeeze fresh fun out of the amiable material.
And, if the results vary between being awkward and funny, this is still one to get telly fans off the couch and out to the cinema. It predated the similar real-life TV show Big Brother.
Ellen Degeneres, Martin Landau, Jenna Elfman, Sally Kirkland, Rob Reiner, Dennis Hopper, Elizabeth Hurley and Adam Goldberg also star. It is a very good cast indeed. The writers are Howard’s regular collaborators Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandell.
The film was a box office flop, grossing only $35 million from an $80 million budget.
© Derek Winnert 2014 Classic Movie Review 1197
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